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Lumber Liquidators Founder Thomas Sullivan has stepped up as interim president and CEO for his company following the unexpected resignation of Robert M. Lynch.
The Toano-based company announced Lynch’s departure in a Thursday news release, saying Lynch “unexpectedly resigned” earlier this week.
Sullivan founded the company in Massachusetts in 1993.
“I am really proud of the LL Team and I look forward to working with them and providing our customers with the best hardwood floors at the best prices as we have since I founded the Company over 20 years ago,” he said in the release.
The release did not offer a reason for Lynch’s departure, and a spokesman for the company declined comment beyond what was contained in the release. Lynch began work as CEO in January 2012.
The company has been under fire for more than a year due to allegations it imported Chinese laminate flooring with elevated levels of formaldehyde and that it imported wood from the habitat of an endangered tiger from Asia.
The formaldehyde allegations were at the core of a report on the CBS News program 60 Minutes, which alleged the company knowingly sold products whose formaldehyde levels exceed the standards set by the California Air Resources Board. Those standards are set to go into effect nationally later this year.
The company has denied all wrongdoing from the beginning. Since the 60 Minutes broadcast, the company has stopped selling Chinese-made laminate flooring. It now faces more than 100 lawsuits connected to the allegations, and the U.S. Department of Justice has indicated it is seeking criminal charges against the company over the allegations that it imported wood from the endangered tiger’s habitat.
The company will conduct a national search for a replacement CEO. John M. Presley, the company’s lead independent director, has been appointed non-executive chairman of the board of directors.
Lynch’s departure is the second major leadership change announced in the past month. In April, the company said Chief Financial Officer Daniel E. Terrell would leave effective July 1. He served as CFO since October 2006.